EVERY TIME I HEAR A RIVER: Poems to protect and save you

This radio show, Poetry Slow down, is so lyrically wet that you will be drenched in river imagery, you will need to dry off after the show. Is there a river in your life? We all have a river in our lives, in stories and songs that matter to us. Rivers seem inextricably related to how we experience earth—civilizations developed around rivers. They are the veins, the arteries of earth, our special planet.

I am convinced Mars once had life, had oceans, and rivers, and cut its trees, and denuded earth, and the rivers literally ran dry, the oceans disappeared into space, and we confront this image every day, of what earth would be if we did not love our rivers, if humans did not develop a language in which to sing of rivers: our first societies sang of rivers, made them part of myth and legend, and so we will slow down with the Poetry Slow Down, I’m your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, Dr. B, with our Producer Zappa Johns, slow down on a lazy river . . . We’ll hear Mary Oliver, Langston Hughes, Mark Twain, Li Po and Ezra Pound, notes of Edgar Allan Poe, and my reflections on rivers in my own life as I reflect on my mother’s life and our experience together in her assisted living residence, and healing from a hip surgery (to Billy Joel’s River of Dreams), and philosophy nurtured by listening to the Willamette River saying both shh and listen up . . . and we’ll hear three river poems from Billy Collins including his evocation of the Susquehanna, and we’ll hear Joni Mitchell wish she had a river, Sir Van Morrison get broken up every time he sees a river, and Mason Williams, and we’ll hear “Moon River,” and we’re just scratching the surface, on river poetry and song, as you let your hurried life just drift and float . . . . Poetry and rivers and being human are inextricably related, and perhaps it makes sense that we understand ourselves in terms of rivers, as we developed our civilizations around them. Yes, you will hear my take on the fact that Gilgamesh, King of Uruk in 2700 B.C.E., wanted to be buried under the Euphrates (according to an epic text found in Me-Turan, modern Tell-Haddad), in “When I Die You Don’t Have to Divert the River for Me.” You’ll hear my dream of rescue for my father to the Merced, River of Mercy, in Happy Isles, Yosemite National Park. And more . . . so let’s push off, or let our feet dangle, and slow down. What is your favorite river? Favorite river poem? Write me at Barbara.mossberg@gmail.com. Yours truly, Dr. B

© Barbara Mossberg 2017

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